#crit101 v2 Twitter Discussion [Survey]

Twitter Bird

For whatever reason the Wednesday evening Twitter discussions have not been well attended so far, during this second run of the course. I am not sure why that is but wondered if the time of the discussion might be an issue. As such I have created a single question survey to find out what your preferred time is. The discussion has to be on Wednesday so that it is mid-week and also does not clash with other events. Please take a minute or two to complete the survey.

#crit101 v2 Twitter Discussion – Tonight 7PM – 8PM (GMT)

Twitter BirdThe first Twitter discussion of #crit101 v2 takes place this evening between 7:00PM and 8:00PM (GMT).

As mentioned in the opening lecture, sharing and discussing ideas encountered in the course is an important aspect of learning to become an in(ter)dependent learner. I hope that you will all be able to join in.

In this first discussion we will be turning our attention to the idea of learning to become a more independent learner. What did you make of the learner survey and reading materials from week one? Do you agree with everything you have read? Are there ideas or concepts that you disagree with or are unsure about? Can you become a more in(ter)dependent learner? Tonight’s discussion is a chance to explore, test and debate ideas.

Joining in with a discussion on Twitter for the first time, with multiple participants, can be a bit daunting.

First and foremost, remember to include the hashtag #crit101 in all of your tweets.

Secondly, prepare yourself. It is best participate using a computer or laptop rather than a mobile phone. You want to be able to see the stream of #crit101 tweets and be able to tweet/reply at the same time. There are a couple of ways to do this…

You could use the Twitter web interface. Search the hashtag and away you go. This has limitations, and works best if you have two windows open side by side. The first window includes the stream of #crit101 tweets. The second is your @ replies, so that you can see if anyone has tweeted you directly.

Alternatively, you could use TweetDeck. Available for both MAC OSX and Windows, TweetDeck is a Twitter client that  works perfectly for following and participating in a discussion on Twitter as it allows you to have multiple columns, including your tweets, @ replies, DMs and hashtags you are following.

See you in the Twitterverse, very soon. 🙂

Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs!

Tonight’s discussion began well with everyone getting used to how Google+ works while sharing their likes and dislikes about the course.  However, it fell apart towards the end. Whether this was due to the platform itself; the attempt to collaborate on a mind map (which did not work); or something else entirely, I am not sure.

Personally, I don’t think Google+ worked that well. I’ve spent quite a lot of time discussing the merits of asynchronous and synchronous collaboration during the course. And while Google+ seems to reside in a liminal space between blog and social network, it did not handle a real time (synchronous) discussion particularly well. I found that it lacked the efficiency/urgency of Twitter. Moreover, it was not always easy to follow the discussion and would certainly benefit from threading. If this frustrated the rest of the participants too, I am not sure, but I will try to find out.

Perhaps Google+ was simply not the right tool for the job. Twitter, on the other hand, is a platform that lends itself more naturally to a real time discussion. Google Docs works well both synchronously and asynchronously. Google+ may still have a place within #crit101 but what that is exactly I am not sure. I’m going to keep the space open; perhaps it is more suited to a less immediate, more thoughtful conversation? But tonight, having sat wondering where everyone went, Google+ left me feeling a little tossed and scrambled.

#crit101 on Google+

Google Plus

During tonight’s Twitter discussion, we discussed the 140 character limit and whether or not we might try a different platform for next week’s discussion. I put a quick poll out there and the majority voted to try Google+.

I have created a community page for the course and invited those of you who are already signed up to Google+ to join it. Those of you who are not signed up to Google+ will have also received an email explaining what you need to do.

Google+ has no character limit and works more like a forum. It will be interesting to see if this aids the quality of the weekly discussion or hinders it. I will discuss this more during Monday’s lecture. In the meantime, get signed up and join the #crit101 community.

“But isn’t all learning independent learning?”

Last night saw the first Twitter discussion take place as part of the #crit101 course. It began with an opportunity for participants to have any questions they had about the course answered, before turning their attention to the topic in hand: Independent Learning.

The participants on the course, for the most part, range from 14 to 18 years of age and for many this was their first ever Twitter discussion that had a specific educational angle. Given this fact, I felt that it was a tremendous success, with everyone demonstrating that they had engaged actively with the course material. Although the chat was limited to an hour, many important ideas were raised, and I hope that some of the resurface in blog posts shortly.

We tackled the question of what Independent Learning is. Opinion varied with some seeing it as a disposition whereas others sighted specific attributes. Here are a few highlights:

One idea that began to come up from several participants was the notion of maturity – being integral to being an independent learner. I asked if it was simply then an issue of time or could IL be taught/developed? This was a challenging question that garnered a variety of responses. One response that captured the duality that I often wrestle with when considering this myself came from Rosie:

This is the challenge, isn’t it? Autonomous learners is what many of us (as educators) want to see but do all learners want to be autonomous, do they know how and is it something that can be learned? Another participant asked, what I felt was a significant and thoughtful question:

Learning is happening all of the time, and it is not happening en-mass, although too often we try to teach that way. For the learner, their education is personal to them, therefore to answer Lily’s question: Yes, all learning is independent learning. However, if this is so, is maturity an issue or is it about reframing how we understand and interpret what independent learning is?

As the end neared, I wanted to challenge the group further by considering if independent learning is something that can be learned. What if I have got this all wrong? The participants responded with maturity and candor…

Finally, as it had come up and few times, I broached the idea of school eroding a learners ability to work independently…

Indeed, it might and that is one of the many reasons underpinning #crit101. I want to challenge the very idea of traditional classroom-based education. Here was a group of learners from different year groups, with different backgrounds, abilities and interests, engaged in a thought provoking discussion about the way they learn. What could be more ‘in(ter)dependent’ than that?

*You can read all of the tweets from the discussion here.